Monday, 20 February 2012

£1000 and beyond

I can now proudly say that we have raised over £1000 in just 50 days. Thank you to each and every one of you for making this possible and for the tremendous support you've shown throughout our fundraising. I never imagined that we'd raise this much money, let alone that we'd raise it in the first two months! So thank you!

I realise that I've not really told you very much about myself, and given that we now have lots of new supporters on Twitter, I thought it might be nice to explain a little more about what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. In 2010, I gave birth to my beautiful little Lola, weighing a perfect 8lb 8oz and encapsulating all my hopes and dreams for the future. I was a frequent user of a baby forum throughout my pregnancy and I loved reading the journals of other mums-to-be on the same journey as me. During my pregnancy, I shut myself off from any mention of stillbirth or prematurity or pregnancy complications as the thought of it, naturally, terrified me. I think this is a perfectly normal reaction - the vast majority of pregnant ladies don't want to hear about stillbirth. What troubles me now is that learning about the causes of stillbirth and prematurity can greatly help in preventing these tragedies from occurring.

When my little girl was a few months old, I stumbled upon one of the journals of the mums I'd been following on the baby forum. I'd only dipped into a few of her journals during my pregnancy, but I couldn't believe what I discovered that day. Her baby, due in the Winter of 2009, had been born still - 3 days before her scheduled C-Section. Chloe's Mum, Sophia, launched herself into a campaign to raise awareness of what she believed could have saved her daughter - Count the Kicks. I contacted Sophia and offered my help and quickly became heavily involved with the campaign, which is now a registered charity. I ran auctions on Facebook to raise money for Count the Kicks, and also arranged a Sponsored Sing-a-long at my local children's centre. All of these simple yet affective schemes helped to raise over £6000 for the campaign. Count the Kicks are succeeding in breaking down the taboo surrounding stillbirth, you can follow their work here:

In Autumn of 2011, I resigned from Count the Kicks to concentrate on my next venture - my degree. I started studying for my History degree with the OU in October, and this soon came to consume the vast majority of my time and energy. Towards the end of the year, however, I began to miss fundraising, and decided that I would do something in 2012 to continue making a difference. That's when, on New Years Eve, I hatched my 1000 Miles Mummy challenge - and now here we are!

The most important point I want to stress through all of this work is that stillbirth needs to be talked about. It is much more common than most people think. Around 6500 babies are born still every year in the UK and yet there is a massive lack of readily available, consistent information for expectant mums on what they can do to spot the early signs of a problem. Don't get me wrong - it's not always preventable. But sometimes, it is. In contrast, around 300 babies die from cot death each year in the UK, and there is so much advice given about this to expectant mums. So why is this different? Why are we led to believe that stillbirth is such a rarity when, in actual fact, it is 21 times more common than cot death - a subject that is openly spoken about in antenatal classes and midwife appointments.

I just want to make a difference. The work that Tommy's do to help protect tiny lives is amazing. They need your support and help in order to continue this vital research and to raise the profile of stillbirth and prematurity in the UK. The £1000 we've raised so far will go towards helping Tommy's open a fourth research centre, focusing on early pregnancy loss.

Thank you so much, once again, for all your help.

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